Organon Art Cie is a cross-media company based in Marseille and led by artists, residents and activists from the Belle de Mai arts centre. They initiated their artistic practice for and with their neighbourhood; then, in the course of their work, the company has developed a broader wish to work for and with future French citizens.

Their artworks consist of collective and poetic stories that they collect during encounters and discussions with amateurs, who, in these shared creations, present themselves as they are or through autofictions that they help write. The ambiguity generated by being unable to distinguish between reality and fiction thus becomes a fertile space conducive to examining theatre’s potential when it confronts reality and vice versa. Here, various narrative facets, frameworks, maps and layers intermesh to yield common processes and collective pieces that tend to reveal the fragility of the truth.

The outskirts are the company’s preferred places for interventions because of their atypical ecosystems, with unique self-organisation practices specific to each of them. So, it’s equally about letting audiences see, hear and read the experiences of these places’ residents, who give these outskirts their everyday identity through their presence and what they do there.
In 2020, Organon Art Cie opened up its theatre practice to multiple other practices and artisanal production activities. The company has thus diversified, and now operates in the form of modules/workshops around video, photography, visual-art performance, video games, music, a newspaper and a radio station. These modules have their own existence but can also contribute to creating a larger whole.

Under the Veduta banner, Organon Art Cie took the Biennale’s invitation as an opportunity to experiment differently with its skillset in new outskirts, namely Lyon’s 7th arrondissement between the Guillotière district and the Cité Jardin social-housing estate in Gerland. Here the company faces a more fragmented dynamic over a long timeframe, working with specific audiences (lower secondary pupils, women, people on a professional-integration scheme), The project, envisaged as a correspondence with the company’s current Marseille initiative, will be underpinned by its rewriting of The Suppliants by Aeschylus, the core around which possible forms and conditions of collectiveness can be reinvented. By co-building a new political association that they call a “community of singularities”, the artists leave ample room for the participants to express how they are affected by Aeschylus’s story, in which otherness is presented as the central theme of any poetic construction. Taking the participants’ individual and family experiences as their starting-point, the artists invite them to undertake a self-archaeology, which will also tell how their identity is displaced and constructed in light of this story – realities that also outline these outskirts’ mixedness, rich diversity and intersectionality.

Photo 1 : Mosaic as part of the Belle de Mai project at L’Assaut du Ciel, 2019 © Organon Art Cie
Photo 2 : Reenactment of the Serment du Jeu de Paume (Tennis Court Oath) as part of the Belle de Mai project at L’Assaut du Ciel, 2019 © Organon Art Cie
Photo 3 : A newspaper-poster for Les Suppliantes, 2021 © Organon Art Cie